How to Become a Budtender

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Contributor: Asia Mayfield

Let’s talk about your job.

Do you wish you were doing something else? Trying to slog through a job that you hate is a nightmare existence. Instead of devoting your time to a company you don’t believe in, do something you love.

Tips & Tricks For Anyone Looking To Become A Budtender

If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, the world is yours, friend. As the legal cannabis market continues to grow, so does the need for qualified industry professionals. A budtender is a retail position. He or she is the face of the dispensary, the person you interact with when you’re buying cannabis.

Budtending is a sales job, too.

To do it well, you need to be able to talk to anyone. A lot of dispensary customers have never tried cannabis before. They’re a little nervous. They need guidance. Or, you might encounter a connoisseur who wants a breakdown of each product’s terpene profile. It doesn’t matter who comes in the door, if you’re a budtender, you should feel comfortable talking to them about anything cannabis-related.

Okay. So now you know you want the job. What’s next? Your exact strategy will depend on where you live. Each state has its own regulations, licensing requirements, etc. This post delves into what you need to do to get started.

Get Educated

Quick! What’s the difference between sativa and indica?

If you can’t rattle off a comprehensive answer without thinking about it, getting hired will be a struggle. Budtenders are expected to be cannabis experts.

A list of things you need to know includes:

  • Terpenes
  • Cannabinoids
  • Consumption methods
  • Medical cannabis recommendations
  • Detailed strain and product information
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If you need to spruce up your cannabis knowledge, start here. We have guides and blog posts that can help.

Be Friendly

Pot shops are about having fun. People want to buy weed from someone who seems like a friend. Recreational markets were born less than ten years ago. The illicit air surrounding cannabis hasn’t completely dissolved yet. Smokers are still part of a club. Picking up an eighth from a bored, antisocial budtender is a major letdown.

If you aren’t a natural extrovert, don’t give up. Social skills can be improved. Come up with a few cannabis-related stories you can share with customers. For example: This crazy sativa I tried last weekend gave me such an energy kick, I cleaned my entire apartment in less than an hour.

Know Your Dispensary

You’ll stand out if you show up to your interview armed with dispensary-specific information. Look up a few of their strains, so you’re prepared to answer questions. Try to understand their ethos. There are small, cozy dispensaries that will value your individuality. Or, you might feel comfortable in a corporate behemoth that offers excellent benefits and an executive-track career path.

Read the room. Know the type of place you’re applying to, and go from there.

Be Professional

Weed culture is pretty laid back. However, being a budtender is a real job that comes with actual responsibilities. It’s not an excuse to sit around and smoke all day. If you’re too high to think straight, you’re not going to deliver an excellent customer experience.

Save that killer smoke session until after work.

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Remember to be professional during your interview. You probably don’t need to show up in a suit and tie, but don’t wear a dirty Cheech and Chong t-shirt that reeks of weed, either.

Know the Law

In the U.S., cannabis is controlled by a patchwork of different laws. Each state has its very own requirements for budtenders. Generally, you need to be at least 21 years old, and able to pass a background check. However, you may also need to apply for a special license.

The average dispensary customer has no clue what the legal purchasing limits are, how to get a medical cannabis card, etc. You should have answers to these questions ready at the tip of your tongue. Even in recreational markets, there is value to holding a medical cannabis card. In Nevada, for instance, medical card-holders can purchase more potent edibles than recreational customers.

Get Certified

Cannabis and budtender certification programs are abundant. Graduating provides evidence that you know what you’re talking about. However, because the programs are still so new, they haven’t all been adequately vetted yet. So, be careful about who you hand your money to. Make sure that you’re signing up for a legitimate, reputable company.

If you don’t live in a state with robust certification programs, look around online.

Be Persistent

Everyone wants these jobs. You don’t need much more experience than you would to work at the mall, and the pay is relatively high. Many budtending positions pay between $12 to $16 an hour (plus tips) to start.

So, unless you have an “in” with a manager or dispensary owner, you need to stand out to get a job. Apply to as many dispensaries as you can. In many dispensaries, receptionists and cashiers have separate, distinct roles. You may have to fill this position first, before you can snag that coveted budtender role.

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Make Friends

Knowing people in the industry will help you get a job. It will also increase your knowledge about cannabis, in general. New products regularly enter the market. It’s impossible to stay up-to-date with everything, unless you have the tools to help you.

The Las Vegas cannabis scene hosts industry nights at dispensaries, nightclubs, etc.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to be a budtender? Time to spruce up your resume! You’re not going to get the job until you start putting in applications.

Pay attention to the above tips, and you have a good chance of getting hired. Check out our strain reviews to kickstart your cannabis knowledge.


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